Early Registration for Summer Seminar Ends Soon!

Early Registration Deadline: July 23, 2017

I introduced myself to Lisa Louise Cooke at the 2015 Texas State Genealogical Society Conference and invited her to be our featured speaker at the DGS 2017 Summer Seminar. She was enthusiastic about the idea and suggested we include Diahan Southard and Sunny Morton in the Seminar.

Both Lisa and Diahan were giving several lectures at the conference. As anticipated, Lisa’s presentations were professional, updated, and very relevant for family historians. And Diahan’s DNA and Genetic Genealogy presentations were being enthusiastically received. Sunny was not at the conference, but Lisa described her as experienced, engaging, and vivacious.

I loved this idea! It would give us the opportunity to address a number of current topic areas, including DNA, newspaper research, and sharing our family history through writing and video. At the same time, three speakers and diverse topics would make our two-day event more like a mini-conference with appeal to a wide range of novice and experienced researchers.

We signed our Agreement in early 2016 and this special two-day event is now only a few weeks away! I anticipate high energy and solid information from these three professionals!

Remember the July 23rd deadline for the discounted fee!

I encourage you to register soon!

Check out the Sneak Video Previews below!


Sneak Previews!
Lisa Louise Cooke Preview

Diahan Southard Preview



Writing Your Life Story, US Religious Records

These topics are only two of the eight which will be presented at the DGS’s 2017 Summer Seminar, Sources, Storytelling & DNA, on Friday and Saturday, August 4 & 5. Genealogy writer and Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems, Sunny Morton, will share her skills and knowledge during these 2 presentations:

Write Your Life Story: As the author of My Life & Times: A Guided Journal for Collecting Your Stories, Sunny will teach attendees how to write their personal histories in an engaging way. This session includes: the anatomy of a good story; what kinds of details are interesting; and how to give stories a personal flavor.

Why We Care Where Grandma Went to Church: An In-Depth Look at U.S. Religious Records: From Sunny’s forthcoming book How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records, learn what church records look like, how to identify an ancestral church and locate and access its records.

Sunny will be joined by Lisa Louise Cooke and Diahan Southard for our two-day event at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library, 1515 Young Street, Dallas, TX. This outstanding trio of experts will help you learn new ways to research YOUR family history. There is something for everyone: DNA, US Religious records, historical newspapers, writing your life story, using video, and more!

Detailed descriptions of all 8 topics, speakers’ bios, and registration/pricing information are on our website.

Enhance Your DNA Knowledge at DGS’s 2017 Summer Seminar

Dallas Genealogical Society’s 2017 Summer Seminar “Sources, Storytelling & DNA” will be held Friday and Saturday, August 4th and 5th, at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library in downtown Dallas.

One of our 3 featured speakers will be Diahan Southard, an expert in genetic genealogy, who will present two of the sessions at the Seminar.

Diahan’s Friday presentation is “Genetic Genealogy: Here’s What you Need To Know”.  YDNA, mtDNA, and autosomal DNA. Family Tree DNA, 23andMe, AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, and LivingDNA. Do 3 test types + 5 testing companies = 8 times the confusion? This accessible lecture will cover what you need to know about this exciting science and how it can lead to important discoveries in your family history. Important questions will be answered: Who should be tested? Which test should I take? What will I receive? Will the DNA results help me? You will be entertained and enlightened, and leave with a better understanding of your next steps.

Her Saturday program is “The Combined Power of YDNA and Autosomal DNA: A Case Study.  This case study will illustrate how YDNA and autosomal DNA testing helped one family better understand their own past, and gave them incentive to reach out and connect with others. The session will cover methodology as well as the sociology of this kind of situation and best practices for you and your family as you strive to forge bonds with others in a non-traditional way.

Diahan Southard is Your DNA Guide at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems website. She holds a degree in Microbiology, has worked with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, and has been in the genetic genealogy industry since it has been an industry.

Lisa Louise Cooke and Sunny Morton are the other 2 featured speakers at our Seminar. Full program details for all 8 sessions plus speaker bios are here.

Register by July 23 to receive a discounted fee: $125 (DGS Member); $140 (Non-Member).

Join Lisa Louise Cooke at DGS 2017 Summer Seminar

One of Dallas Genealogical Society’s featured speakers at our 2017 Summer Seminar event Sources, Storytelling & DNA is internationally-known family history speaker, author, teacher, and researcher Lisa Louise Cooke. Lisa will present four topics during our 2-day event, August 4-5. Our other featured speakers Sunny Morton and Diahan Southard will present 4 additional topics.

Lisa’s sessions on Friday will be Google Tools & Procedures for Solving Family History Mysteries and Get the Scoop on Your Ancestors with Newspapers, followed by 10 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy with Video and How to Create Exciting Interactive Family History Tours with Google Earth on Saturday.

You can expect to learn a lot from Lisa’s presentations – exciting new Google search techniques, 3 Cool Tech Tools to get you started in newspaper research, ten ways that online video can enrich your family history, how to harness Google Earth’s capabilities as a multimedia way to tell your ancestor’s story…and much more.


1st floor Auditorium
J. Erik Jonsson Central Library
1515 Young Street
Dallas, Texas 75201

Click here for all 8 session descriptions, Early Bird registration discount prices, and online/mail-in registration forms on the DGS website.

Visit Lisa’s excellent website: genealogygems.com.

See you at our Summer Seminar!


Getting to know Sunny Morton and Diahan Southard

We are fortunate to welcome Sunny Morton and Diahan Southard as two of the three speakers for the DGS Summer Seminar on August 4 and 5. If you’ve never heard them speak, you’re in for a treat! Registration is open now, so please join us!

Sunny Morton

Sunny McClellan Morton is an award-winning writer and speaker. She has developed courses for Family Tree University and has authored My Life & Times: A Guided Journal for Collecting Your Stories as well as the forthcoming How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records. At RootsTech 2017, she taught a session on “Big 4: Comparing Ancestry, findmypast, FamilySearch and MyHeritage”; you can see the video at https://www.rootstech.org/videos/sunny-morton. Sunny is also an editor for Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems blog and podcasts and is a contributing editor for Family Tree Magazine.

Diahan SouthardDiahan Southard has been interested in DNA since high school and has made it her career, first with Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation and now as Your DNA Guide. Like Sunny, Diahan also presented at RootsTech 2017 on “DNA: The Glue that Holds Families Together.” Diahan has also appeared in several Family Tree webinars and, in fact, has a free one on Friday, June 16 at 1:00 PM CDT on the topic, What Now? Your Next Steps with Autosomal DNA. My favorite ones, though, are the “Watch Geoff Live” seminars she’s done with the webinar host, Geoffrey Rasmussen. These are unscripted session where Diahan walks Geoff through his DNA test results, making discoveries and breaking a brick wall or two along the way. (Note: The older webinars can be viewed by webinar subscribers or you can purchase a digital download of individual seminars that may be of interest to you.)

Join us August 4th and 5th at the J. Erik Jonsson Library to hear these great speakers. 

You just think you know what Google can do!

Lisa Louise Cooke

Google may have started as a search engine back in the mid-1990s to find files on the Internet, but it’s grown into so much more. The free tools that are now available from Google can be invaluable to genealogists — experienced or newbie. Sure, there’s Google Search, Google Drive and GMAIL, but now there’s also Google Books, Google Maps, Google Translate, Google Earth and more! Come and learn from Lisa Louise Cooke, author of The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox (2nd Edition). I had the opportunity to see Lisa present a session on Google Earth at a conference several years ago and was totally enthralled, especially when she showed how to overlay historical maps on Google Earth, making your ancestor’s neighborhood that much more alive.

Lisa will be one of our presenters at the DGS Summer Seminar, Friday & Saturday, August 4 & 5.  Her sessions include Google Tools & Procedures for Solving Family History Mysteries, Get the Scoop on Your Ancestors with Newspapers, 10 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy with Video, and How to Create Exciting Interactive Family History Tours with Google Earth.

Lisa is the owner of Genealogy Gems, a genealogy and family history multi-media company. She is producer and host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, the popular online genealogy audio show as well as the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast, both available at www.GenealogyGems.comin iTunes, and through the Genealogy Gems app. She is a international genealogy speaker, an author of multiple books and multi-media materials and even has her own YouTube channel. On July 12th, Lisa will present on Google Books: the tool you should use every day! through Legacy Tree Webinars  (https://familytreewebinars.com/lisalouisecooke).

We’re fortunate to have Lisa Louise Cooke join us for the DGS Summer Seminar! Registration is now open, so please sign up and join us in August.

Sources, Storytelling & DNA

A very special event presented by the

Dallas Genealogical Society



Registration:  9:30 AM
10:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Session 1. Lisa Louise Cooke
Google Tools & Procedures for Solving Family History Mysteries
Session 2. Sunny Morton
Write Your Life Story
Session 3. Diahan Southard
Genetic Genealogy: Here’s What you Need To Know
Session 4. Lisa Louise Cooke
Get the Scoop on Your Ancestors with Newspapers


Seminar:  10:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Session 1. Sunny Morton
Why We Care Where Grandma Went to Church: An In-Depth Look at U.S. Religious Records
Session 2. Lisa Louise Cooke
10 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy with Video
Session 3. Diahan Southard
The Combined Power of YDNA and Autosomal DNA: A Case Study
Session 4. Lisa Louise Cooke
How to Create Exciting Interactive Family History Tours with Google Earth


LISA LOUISE COOKE is the owner of Genealogy Gems, a genealogy and family history multi-media company.  She is Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, the popular online genealogy audio show available at www.GenealogyGems.com, in iTunes, and through the Genealogy Gems app.

SUNNY MORTON is a genealogy writer read by thousands in magazines and online. She is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems and the author of My Life & Times: A Guided Journal for Collecting Your Stories.

DIAHAN SOUTHARD is Your DNA Guide at Genealogy Gems! She holds a degree in Microbiology, has worked with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, and has been in the genetic genealogy industry since it began.


By July 23

  • Member:  $125
  • Non‐Member:  $140

After July 23

  • Member:  $140
  • Non‐Member:  $160


  • Friday $12
  • Saturday $12


  • For lower rate: Register online or by mail postmarked no later than midnight, July 23, 2017.
  • Parking in the Library’s underground garage is included in the registration fee.
  • Sorry, no one-day pricing available for this seminar.


1st floor Auditorium
J. Erik Jonsson Central Library
1515 Young Street
Dallas, Texas 75201

Preview the Family Treasures

Copy of LevenickDenise-web-4

Preserving & Sharing Our Family Treasures

~ Denise May Levenick ~

July 29 & 30, 2016

before midnight, Wednesday, July 27
$160 (members) | $190 (non-members) | Lunches & Library Parking Included

Friday, July 29, 9:30 – 10:00
J. Erik Johsson Central Library | 1515 Young Street | Dallas, TX  75210

All day Friday and Saturday morning will feature six lectures offering tips, techniques, and best practices for preserving and sharing our family treasures. Learn about archiving, scanning, photo restoration, and estate planning – among other topics!

After lunch on Saturday, Denise will host the Heirloom Roadshow: Two sessions featuring keepsake submissions from members of the audience. We had to close the roadshow submissions to give Denise time to research each of them. She thinks we have an interesting mix of keepsakes to discuss. I think she’s right! See for yourself: Here’s a brief preview!


Barbara Ware submitted a gourd with what her family believes to be gunpowder inside. They think it is Civil War era as their great grandfather fought with the 16th Mississippi CSA.

Barbara is curious to know the best method to find out if it is gun powder – without it being confiscated by police? She asks how and where should they store it?


Bud Hopkins submitted this little booklet written and copyrighted by his maternal great grandmother, Ella Mary MATLOCK Van Osdel (1840-1925), and published by the Woman’s Temperance Publishing Association in Chicago in 1897. In addition to her writings, a photograph of a tintype of her mother Elizabeth B. JOHNSON Matlock (1818-1882) is included in the front, along with a sketch of her infant son “Willie” (about 1862-1862) probably drawn by her daughter Elizabeth VAN OSDEL Cowan (1863-1932), a portrait artist, and a poem entitled “Willie” written by her husband Charles Ruland Van Osdel (1840-1917).

Bud wants to know what he should  do to preserve this 119 year old keepsake for his children and grandchildren?


Ken Johnston submitted his Dad’s leather jacket, acquired in the mid-50s. His Mom leans toward it being a jacket that  belonged to his Dad’s paternal uncle. The tag for the brand looks as though it was removed or torn out. The jacket has not been worn for many years, and has been hanging in the closet covered with a black plastic trash bag. The leather has dried out and is stiff, and there are some spots of mold and wear on it.

Ken would like to restore the jacket and intends to pass it along to another family member in years ahead. He’d like advice on maintaining it in a restored condition so that it does not become dried out and/or moldy.

Please join us at our Summer Seminar!

before midnight, Wednesday, July 27
$160 (members) | $190 (non-members) | Lunches & Library Parking Included

Friday, July 29, 9:30 – 10:00
J. Erik Johsson Central Library | 1515 Young Street | Dallas, TX  75210

You Can’t Take It with You!

Preserving & Sharing Our Family Treasures

2016 DGS Summer Seminar – July 29 & 30, 2016


Most of us have some family treasures we deem worthy of preservation. My mother saved many certificates and diplomas marking achievements and graduations in her life. Many of these documents were rolled and then bound by satin ribbons. Among the diplomas was her 1937 college diploma written in Latin on sheepskin and signed by her cousin, the college Dean. After Mom died Dad saved all of these documents, which I now have.

My father was an anti-hoarder, a possession minimalist. So, what he did keep might reflect what was most important to him: a hand-stitched, khaki green, cloth bag containing a crucifix and sown-on religious medals; a Teamster’s Union pin; a prayer folded to fit in the inside band of his cap. His personal treasures – left behind, never mentioned, now in my possession.

There was also a handful of objects in our home that came from my parents’ ancestors. Mom had her father’s wooden-handled hand drill and a doll someone brought home from a pre-WWII trip to Holland. Dad had a small variety of objects: his immigrant Irish grandfather’s shillelagh; a large framed studio photograph of his mother at age 13-16; a cup and saucer originating in some unclear fashion from his immigrant Scottish grandfather, who was a potter; and a pair of leather mittens lined with a soft fur that he brought home from his European tour in WWII.

I have my grandfather’s drill and one of my sisters has the Dutch doll. I know Dad gave his Mom’s photograph to his youngest sister and the cup and saucer to another of his daughters. I don’t know the whereabouts of the shillelagh or the mittens.

Lastly, one day in the 1970’s a trunk arrived from Dad’s recently deceased aunt, his mother’s sister. Among other objects, it contained a collection of costume jewelry and four matching bowls and plates. I have this pottery, which I discovered was made in the Mount Clemens pottery in Michigan where my Dad’s uncle worked. This uncle was also a potter and a brother of my Dad’s mother.

These few objects are the “stuff” of my parents that has remained, some of it with me and some not. I ask myself: What am I going to do with this stuff? Will any family members want it after I can no longer care for it?


I have also accumulated many pictures and records documenting my family’s history. How best should I preserve them? How can I assure that my keepsakes and records pass on to a loving steward?

I expect Denise Levenick will have some answers for me and many others asking similar questions. I am very happy that she is coming to speak at the Dallas Genealogical Society’s summer seminar, July 29th and 30th.

I heard Denise speak at Rootstech 2014 in Salt Lake City. I was impressed by the range and depth of her knowledge about preservation. She brings sound archival practice within the reach of many of us. She understands the challenges we face. Her tips and techniques are practical and affordable. I think of her as the original “DIY Family Curator”.

Among the topics she will address, we are fortunate that she will be presenting “Estate Planning for Genealogists”, a topic debuting this July in Denise’s course, Family Archiving: Heirlooms in the Digital Age, at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). This timely presentation is just one reason to attend the Summer Seminar!

You Can’t Take it with You: Estate Planning for Genealogists” — Who will care for your family archive when you’re gone? This session will look at creative solutions for distributing family heirlooms when settling an estate, how to be an attractive donor to institutional archives, and how to prepare a simple genealogical codicil. We’ll also discuss options for preserving your family history stories and photos in legacy online digital archives.
– Denise May Levenick

I am also excited about the “Heirloom Roadshow” Denise will be hosting. People have already submitted interesting preservation challenges for the Roadshow. This interactive session should be a lot of fun! You can submit your heirloom to the Roadshow online.

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to register for Denise’s seminar!

Early registration ends July 10th!

Preserving & Sharing Our Family Treasures

Friday – Saturday, July 29 – 30, 2016

10:00 AM – 4:30 PM

1st floor Auditorium | J. Erik Jonsson Central Library
1515 Young Street | Dallas Texas, 75201

Preserving Our “Stuff”

Join the Dallas Genealogy Society on July 29 & 30, 2016
Denise Levenick presents a 7-part program:
Preserving & Sharing Our Family History


News came to us yesterday of the death on May 2, 2016 of Margaret Ann (Schmidt) Hudson (1943-2016). Margaret Ann was an avid genealogist who served the DGS over many years in several capacities, including president in 1983-1984. Her obituary states that “in her pursuit of family history and stories, she amassed a substantial collection of materials and documents.”1 Her son, Matthew Hudson, fondly noted that Margaret Ann gave books of genealogical charts to each of her children.


Another son, James Hudson, reported in a Dallas Morning News blog that his grandfather and Margaret Ann’s father-in-law, Elmore Hudson, left a massive collection of photographs and negatives. Included in his collection were several 1936 photos capturing the construction and early days of Fair Park buildings in Dallas, Texas. Margaret Ann alerted James to the collection and the family subsequently preserved “each picture and negative in acid-free sleeves, numbered, [and] boxed.”2


Denise May Levenick

Denise May Levenick, our DGS Summer Seminar speaker, comments in her blog (The Family Curator) that “in every family, someone ends up with “the stuff”.”3 Margaret Ann Hudson organized and published her research findings and passed them on to her children in book form. Her children, in turn, preserved and shared their grandfather’s photography collection. These are two examples of  wonderful outcomes for any family historian!

All family history researchers have “stuff” –
usually, lots of stuff.

As in the case of Elmore Hudson’s photographic collection, some of our personal collections are well-organized and preserved using good archival practices. But the reality for many of us is that our stuff consists of a challenging array of physical and digital formats and is stored or stashed in every conceivable manner.


We know our research records and family treasures are valuable and vulnerable. We want practical approaches to organization, preservation, and sharing that do not require advanced technical degrees and small fortunes to implement.

When Denise Levenick inherited her grandmother’s trunk filled with photos, documents, and family keepsakes, she set about adapting archival practices for the organization and preservation of these family treasures. She understands the challenges we face in organizing, preserving, sharing, and passing on our family records, keepsakes, and miscellaneous “stuff”. She feels our pain.

Denise Levenick | July 29 & 30, 2016
Preserving & Sharing Our Family History


Denise’s 20 plus years of research and practice resulted in her blog, which contains practical tips, techniques, and DIY projects. She has also published two books: How to Archive Family Keepsakes and How to Archive Family Photos. 

Denise is a frequent contributor to family history magazines and online publications, and presenter for webinars and workshops. She is also a member of the 2016 faculty for the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh.

Register now for this Special Event!

1. “In memory of Margaret Ann Hudson,” Dignity Memorial, Memorial Funeral Chapel College Station, (http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Margaret-Hudson&lc=4540&pid=179864821&mid=6913451# : accessed 5 June 2016).

2. Wilonsky, Robert. “The story behind a stack of rarely seen photos of Fair Park under construction in 1936,” The Dallas Morning News, City Hall Blog, 3 June 2016 (http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2016/06/the-story-behind-a-stack-of-rarely-seen-photos-of-fair-park-under-construction-in-1936.html/#more-56945 : accessed 5 June 2016), paras. 8 & 11.

3. Levenick, Denise May. “About Denise Levenick, The Family Curator,” The Family Curator, 2016 (http://thefamilycurator.com/ : accessed 5 June 2016), para. 1.